The Portfolio Center at Columbia College in Chicago is a collection of creative industry professionals, educators, and facilitators dedicated to assisting students create pathways to good work. We offer an evolving set of programs designed to help students make well-informed career choices, complete smart and relevant portfolios, and to be savvy about how they put themselves into play as they pursue professional lives. We work with students at all stages of their education and career readiness. We're ready to help you.



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Even MORE on Resumes! Basic Refresher Tips.

Fall is rolling in! As everyone scurries to prepare for all the exciting opportunities on the horizon, it’s time to gather all those important pieces of work and professional documents that represent you. If you’re just starting college, you might have never created a resume before. Worry not! Here are some very basic tips to consider when creating and fine-tuning a resume:

1)  HAVE A RESUME!!!!! 

Yes, as an arts student your job search is likely to be starkly different from that of a business student. If you’re reading this and you are one of those fortunate types who’s like “I’ve gotten soooooo many jobs and never used a resume” then great,  read no further. Best practices though – have a resume. Even if you’re primarily utilizing a networking/word of mouth strategy to get gigs/money, having a resume that quickly sums up all the great stuff you’ve done will never, ever hurt you. What will hurt you is if an interested party you’ve been chatting with says “you sound great and everyone says you’re great. Let’s get coffee tomorrow, bring your resume” and you suddenly have 24 hours to come up with something that doesn’t look terrible. Don’t put yourself in a potentially embarrassing situation like that! Prepare for people caring that you at least have a resume.

2)  Do. Not. Put. Your. High school. On. Your. Resume.

Please don’t do this. When students meet with me in person I am much more sensitive in communicating that point – “Your high school sounds great, but a potential employer will be much more interested in what you’re studying as a college student”.  Nobody cares about your high school diploma or GPA. You can’t get to college without finishing high school, so your high school completion is assumed. Instead, replace it with information about Columbia – the name of the school, anticipated grad date, anticipated degree, and concentration if applicable. That’s it! Keep as much unnecessary information off the resume as possible. High school info is by far the most common offender.

3)  Resumes are not online applications.

Don’t waste space by adding mailing addresses for your workplaces, university, or even for yourself (it’s not contact information anymore, so don’t list it as contact info). Why include something that can be easily Googled? Now that I think about it, why do online applications ask us to Google addresses for their own purposes? Ugh. That’s another headache. But take control over this annoyance and save yourself the time and space – no addresses on the resume.

4)  Work with what you have.

Yes, you have to have done “something” to create a complete resume. But you’ll already have two of the three necessary components, education and contact info. If you’ve never had a job, provide any volunteering or activities that display your interests, accomplishments  and skills. Speaking of skills, provide a skills section where you can mention any language, tech, media, even interpersonal skills you want to offer. Usually, I’m able to come up with nearly an entire page even for students with no job experience. Have faith!

5)  Get another pair of eyes on it.

You could re-read your own writing and never, ever notice that you spelled something wrong or made a grammatical error. You want to perfect those English-y things for extremely obvious reasons before sending your resume out anywhere. Be vigilant about it!

If you’re one of those people who learns new stuff by watching online videos, check out my tutorial to see how to create a resume in Microsoft Word. And as always, stop by the Portfolio Center for any and all of your resume questions and concerns! 

Internship Advice Part II

You may have noticed that we’re a little focused this month on resumes, cover letters,  & internships.  Last Wednesday we posted some excellent Internship advice from student Michelle Graven.   Today we’re featuring the wise words of marketing communication student Luke Crawford. 

Luke’s Helpful HInts:

Remember, you’re performing from the moment you send in your application/resumeFrom your social media presents, to you cooperation on the job, you are performing and being analyzed as part of the team. Don’t tweet rude comments about your colleagues, arrive late to the job, or do the minimum amount of work to keep the internship.

Ask to do more, and prove your abilities - It never hurts to offer your assistance and back up your offering with your previous experience. You might be in the mail room, but if there is a corporate even on Saturday, and you don’t already have plans, offer to help!

If you’re passionate, show it - Show your employer that you care. If you work hard and have a standard for work quality you are more likely to enjoy yourself and your employer will likely notice.

Use your internship as a networking opportunity - You and your colleague are both at work, and you both work at the same place. That’s two similarities already! Don’t be scared to get to know your colleagues and foster relationships with the people in the office. You never know when your new-found friendships/relationships will help you on your professional trajectory.

Thanks Luke!  Next Wednesday, we’ll hear from Jessica Kantak.  If you’re working on your resume now, be sure to visit our resume guide, tutorials, & additional info on the Portfolio Center site!

From No Film School.com

Posted 11 months ago
Video Tutorial: Four Weeks to a Job

For those of you who missed our Launch Pad event on June 26th, we have a video tutorial of the content for you! Check out Job Search Strategy: Four Weeks to a Job. Stay tuned for more video content in the coming weeks.

Posted 1 year ago | 1 note
References Available Upon Request

If you’re applying for jobs or internships, you will likely be asked to provide references. Many people include the line “References Available Upon Request”, but are you ready to provide those references?

References vs Letters of Recommendation

Some companies will ask you to fill out an application including contact information for all companies you’ve worked for. References, on the other hand, are hand-picked by you. This is great if you have a mostly-stellar work history, but one blemish - a supervisor you didn’t get a long with or a job you were fired from. You choose 3 - 5 people you think would speak well of you and your skills. Letters of recommendation go one step further, and this is where your references write a brief letter outlining your strengths and skill level. Typically when a job asks for “References” they are looking only for contact information, and not a full letter.

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Ending Your Internship on the Right Note

As you wrap up classes for the semester, you may also be wrapping up your internship.  If all has gone well, you were busy learning, doing, and connecting. But how you leave has a big impact on how you are remembered. Don’t lose the great momentum- here are a few to-do’s as you approach your last day.

Organize Your Projects

Projects often don’t work on a semester schedule like your internship does. Take time to make sure you leave things in a good place – finish projects when possible, or leave detailed notes and organized files for the next person if there is still work to be done.  Your boss, coworkers, and successors will appreciate your professionalism!


Even if your supervisor does not initiate it, see if you can set up an ‘exit interview’. This will give you a chance to recap what you worked on and solicit feedback about how you did.  It’s also a great chance to address any logistics that remain, including: can I list you as a reference in the future? I’m really proud of my work on ___. Would you allow me to use it in my portfolio? And finally…

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Time for a Resume Revamp

When it comes to resumes, your work is never done. It’s likely you at least a draft together - maybe from your part-time job or internship search- but if you’re graduating in the next 6 months it’s time to look at your old resume from a new angle. It’s time to shift from you: the student to you: the professional.

In case you missed our resume workshop last night on Resumes for Industry Events, here are a few pointers for revamping your resume to pursue jobs after graduation.

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Navigating the Portfolio Center Website

Hi all, Maddie again.

In case you guys hadn’t noticed, last semester we updated our website. Not only is it easier to find things now, it’s also quite pretty. But still, none the less, finding what you need online can always be a struggle. Especially if you don’t even know what you need. Then you’re in a real pickle. (Fun Fact Side Note: The origin of the phrase “in a pickle” is not as interesting as one would hope.) So I’m here to show you my own recommendations of the top spots on our website with some quick scenarios.

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